I taught myself cyber security with TryHackMe in my spare time while working in other job roles. TryHackMe helped me to learn cyber security at my own pace, when I wanted to. I felt very fortunate that the TryHackMe learning paths enabled me to learn the most relevant topics for my interests and career goals.
With (well over!) one million users and counting, we love to hear how our users have used TryHackMe to hit goals and develop careers. We spotted Angus on LinkedIn, who shared his story on how using TryHackMe allowed him to change career paths and dive into cyber security.
Here’s his story!
Why did you start learning cyber security?
I've always been interested in computers and technology, even from a very young age. I got my first raspberry pi (a microcontroller board) when I was 10 years old, and started learning basic programming and creating projects. Throughout school, I wasn't the most academically inclined… I was even asked to leave sixth form because I was too busy teaching myself how to build websites in the back of my economics class! It was during my time at school when I first started researching hacking and cyber security, but I didn’t act on it immediately.
I have transitioned into cyber security from technology-orientated positions. My jobs were in web development and within Asda Technology. Whilst I enjoyed elements of both, I knew I wanted something more challenging to keep me on my toes. After these jobs, I decided to pursue cyber security. Although I didn’t yet have much knowledge, I wanted to delve into a training journey to get my foot in the door. This is when I found TryHackMe.
What was the most challenging part of learning cyber security, and how did you rise above those challenges?
I'd say that the most challenging part of learning cyber security was knowing where to start and what I actually wanted to do within the field. From the outside looking in, there were just a few roles within cyber security that appealed to me - mainly related to ethical hacking. I spent time researching what each role consisted of to decide where to take my training. I felt very fortunate that the TryHackMe learning paths enabled me to learn the most relevant topics for my interests and career goals.
How did TryHackMe help you learn?
As a start, TryHackMe was amazing in teaching me to learn cyber security.
The layout and format of each training lab were incredibly useful in growing my knowledge, and I loved how the platform taught me the very fundamentals for foundational knowledge to build from. This is very unique to TryHackMe and was my first foot in the door. Building from this, TryHackMe helped me to upskill in more technical areas of cyber security, which has helped me in my career path.
What have you accomplished with your new skills?
I suppose the main achievement is that I got a job! I used TryHackMe as my main point of study for my cyber security knowledge, and I was able to get a job as a Cyber Security Analyst based on this alone. I also applied the stuff I had learned to other areas, for example, I started doing bug bounties with the stuff that I learned from THM.
How did you feel about transitioning your career into cyber security?
I suppose the thing that stood out to me the most when starting at my new place was slight imposter syndrome! I had been training for a long time and felt equipped to do the job, but sometimes the initial moments in a new position (in a new industry!) can be daunting. I was a little worried I would come across as not knowing something about certain areas I hadn’t yet trained for. I told myself, I have been hired for a reason, and was very successful in answering all of the technical questions - I soon learned to trust my ability.
What advice would you give someone just starting in cyber security?
I recommend you research all of the different jobs within cyber security - you will be surprised by what is out there and what some of the roles consist of. Most people see some of the “sexy” jobs within cyber security and think this is the path they should follow, such as positions they’ve seen glamorised on TV shows. Whilst they could be great, there is so much more to cyber security that you can find just as (if not more!) interesting. Once you have a rough idea of your goals, start to focus on training to reflect the areas you want to go into. This will help streamline your training and make the process as productive as possible.
Next up, I think it’s important to note that you should not worry about rejection or meeting all the criteria for the jobs you want to apply for. Anything you don’t yet know is something you can learn. In my opinion, you should apply for positions when you feel ready and look to fill in the gaps as you go. Being surrounded by people who have been doing this for a while allows you to tap into their knowledge, and it’s important to remember people generally love to help. Colleagues don’t mind answering questions to help you, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. As cyber security changes every day with new threats and tactics, you’ll never feel fully ready if you try to learn every single thing first.
Thank you so much Angus for sharing your thoughts! You can follow Angus’ journey on LinkedIn.